|5th Hussar Regiment|
The regimental standard, photographed in 1918
|Type||Regiment of Hussars|
|Nickname(s)||Légion de Lauzun (1780)|
de Lauzun (1783)
|Motto(s)||Perit sed in armis (they die arms in hand)|
|Anniversaries||24 June 1859 (Solférino)|
|Engagements||American Revolutionary War, the French Revolutionary Wars, Napoleonic Wars, Mexico Expedition, First World War|
|Decorations||Croix de guerre 1914-1918 with palm|
Médaille d'or de la Ville de Milan
|Battle honours||Valmy 1792|
La Moskova 1812
La Marne 1918
|Duc de Lauzun|
The 5th Hussar Regiment (5e régiment de hussards or 5e RH) was a French Hussar regiment.
Lauzun's Legion was made up of infantry, cavalry and artillery components (one company of grenadiers, one company of infantry, two squadrons of Hussars, and one company of gunners) and were recruited largely from foreign mercenaries. After being posted to Senegal and the West Indies, Lauzun's Legion served in the American War for Independence. The corps' principal engagements were at White Plains in 1781, and at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781.
When the Legion arrived in America, they recruited from foreigners, mainly Hessian deserters; there were complaints about their conduct. Rochambeau sent Brigadier General Marquis de Choisy with Lauzun's Legion in July 1780, as they marched from Rhode Island to Head of Elk, Maryland, traveled by water to Alexandria, Virginia, and marched to Glouster Courthouse. They spent the winter in Lebanon, Connecticut.
The Légion de Lauzun became famous during the Siege of Yorktown, mainly before Gloucester on 3 October 1781, where they chased down the champion of the battle, a British cavalry led by Colonel Banastre Tarleton. The legion stayed in the United States of America, first in Hampton, Virginia, then in February 1782 in Charlotte Court House, Virginia, before they were moved in July 1782 to New York. The legion left the United States in May 1783.
In December 1780, two dozen Hussar horsemen deserted and discharged themselves from their winter quarters in Lebanon and fled into the woods to the south. The Legion itself may have wintered in Trumbull, Connecticut, according to Huldah Hawley, who said she cooked for the French for fear they would kill her because her husband was a known Tory. Lauzun's Legion or "Hussars" encamped in present-day Abraham Nichols Park in Trumbull from June 28 to June 30, 1781. The Legion, an advance party, was ordered to protect the exposed flank of the main army and stayed 10 to 15 miles (16 to 24 km) ahead of and to the south flank of the main French army while encamped in Newtown. The army was marching in the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route south to reinforce American troops under the command of General George Washington at the Siege of Yorktown. French coins have since been found near the site of their camp in Abraham Nichols Park.
The legion was at Gloucester, Virginia, during the Siege of Yorktown. On October 4, 1781, French and British cavalry skirmished at Gloucester. The British cavalry commander, Banastre Tarleton, was unhorsed, and the Lauzun's Legion drove the British within their lines, before being ordered to withdraw by the Marquis de Choisy. The Legion suffered three Hussars killed, and two officers and eleven Hussars wounded. Fifty British were killed or wounded, including Tarleton.
In December 1782, the Legion moved to Wilmington, Delaware. On 18 March 1783, in Delaware, their cash payroll was stolen but recovered. On 9-11 May 1783 the Legion embarked from Wilmington on five vessels, la Goire, la Danaë, l"Astree, l'Active, and Le St. James, arriving at Brest, France, about 11 June. On 5 October 1783, the Legion's two artillery companies left Baltimore on the Duc de Lauzun, and the Pintade. The ships, guarded by two French frigates, arrived in Brest on 10 November. However, many soldiers mustered out in America, or deserted.
When the Legion transferred to America, it left behind its two fusilier companies. These companies transferred to the West Indies. In January-February 1782 they accompanied French naval Captain Armand Guy Simon de Coëtnempren, Comte de Kersaint, with his 32-gun flagship Iphigénie and four lesser ships to Demerara, where they met with little opposition. The detachments from the Regiment Armagnac and the Legion launched an assault against the British garrison compelling Governor Robert Kinston and his army detachment from the 28th Regiment of Foot to surrender. As a result, Essequebo and Berbice also surrendered to the French on 1 and 5 February.
The Régiment des Hussards de Lauzun, number 6 (a regular hussar regiment), was officially created on 14 September 1783 in Hennebont, when the Légion de Lauzun des États-Unis returned. Lauzun remained its proprietor until the French Revolution started.
When the revolutionary government declared war on Austria, the regiment fell completely apart as the majority of its officers deserted and handed the regiment's funds, supplies, and records over to the enemy. Subsequent restructuring included: